The NBA preseason rankings are about to become a thing of the past as games get underway tonight. The Trail Blazers, who open the season against the Jazz on Wednesday, were listed in a favorable position in the final preseason rankings from ESPN.
The Blazers finished just behind the Nuggets at the No. 9 spot in ESPN’s league-wide preseason rankings. ESPN’s list took a brief snapshot of where the Blazers stood when fans last saw them outside of preseason competition.
he Blazers were one of the darlings of the bubble, with Damian Lillard taking on all comers with 40-foot bombs. They took Game 1 from the Lakers and looked dangerous as a true playoff Cinderella, until Lillard injured his knee and thereby ended Portland’s season. The Lakers won four straight and the Blazers left the bubble looking toward this season, where they will hopefully be healthy, deeper and built to compete at the upper level of the West.
ESPN’s rankings also tabbed third-year guard Gary Trent Jr. as Portland’s breakout candidate.
Trent had a breakout bubble, and with soaring confidence and teammates looking to get him shots, he could be poised for a big season as a 3-and-D wing. The Blazers are deeper at his position with the additions of Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr., but Trent could play a significant role off the bench for Portland.
In the rankings, the Blazers finished just above the Mavericks. You can read the full list at ESPN.